Accused spy in Russia wants Trump's help

Former US Marine Paul Whelan, held in Russia on suspicions of spying, asked President Trump to help.
Former US Marine Paul Whelan, held in Russia on suspicions of spying, asked President Trump to help.

A former US Marine held in Russia on suspicion of spying has called on US President Donald Trump and the leaders of Britain, Canada and Ireland to help him.

Paul Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in a Moscow hotel room in December and accused of espionage, a charge he denies. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in jail.

Whelan said last month that he had been threatened by a Russian investigator in custody and harassed, accusations that added to strains in US-Russian relations.

"Mr president (Trump), we cannot keep America great unless we aggressively protect and defend American citizens wherever they are in the world," Whelan told reporters at a hearing in Moscow on Thursday.

"I am asking the leaders and governments in Ottawa, Dublin, London and Washington for their help and public statements of support," he said, standing inside a glass cage.

Whelan's lawyer has said his client was framed and that he was given a flash drive by an acquaintance that he thought contained holiday photos, but that actually held classified information.

Whelan was in court on Thursday to appeal against the extension of his custody until August 29. The court ruled against him.

Australian Associated Press